Anyone else get their world riggity-rocked by the season finale of Battlestar Galactica?
*Commence the spoilin’*
Apollo‘s shaming everyone, all but one of the humanoid Cylons have been revealed, and Galactica’s surrounded by basestars–good times! I find it a little annoying that there was no closure at the end of the season. That seems to be how this show rolls, but c’mon.
I’m gonna say the series peaked last season. I wasn’t in to this one as much as the second season. This season had less of an overall story than I would have liked. I guess it was more about the characters. Yeah, a lot happened with the characters but not a lot happened with the story (if that makes sense). I guess we’ll start at the beginning.
Neeeeew Caprica. I think they squandered that opportunity, frankly. Just when I got used to the idea of New Caprica, they left. I thought they’d spend more than four episodes there. Instead we jump four months after the Cylon occupation. Why wouldn’t they show us how the occupation began? There’d be some cool ground fighting, we could see how the resistance started, yatta yatta yatta, and we could see how things slowly spiral out of control. Tigh’s use of suicide bombers would also be more morally ambiguous, because we would have seen how brutal the Cylons were and how desperate the humans got. Instead we got a paper-thin parallel to the Iraq war. Thanks. Seriously, I thought they should have spent half the season there. It was a big decision to colonize it but it didn’t feel like the series treated it that way. The big battle to rescue everyone was pretty cool, but, again, it felt rushed. Suddenly the Pegasus is destroyed? After four episodes?
The Cylon storyline was . . . weird. A lot of it seemed like just an excuse for the writers to throw out more quasi-mystical jargon. Like with the hybrid. I wasn’t down with the heavy religious focus on the Cylons. I would have cared much more to actually see Baltar interact with more of them. Instead, we get a weird montage: ok, ok, um . . . show some lights, Baltar looks confused, ok, someone naked, more lights, what about that red eye thing of the Cylons, yeah, good, ominous, ok, back to Baltar, oh look, he’s still confused, flashing lights, gimme a voice over, make it Baltar, he doesn’t know what’s going on, talk vaguely about the Cylon God’s plan without actually saying anything, yes! Done.
That Bulldog guy came out of nowhere. That episode was kinda cool. Finding out that the humans may have been the aggressors was a neat reversal of the “Cylons are absolute evil and all they want to do is kill . . . just because.” I can get behind that. But, damn, they killed Kat in a hurry. Something must have been up with that actress because damn. It’s not like they didn’t have enough story to stretch that out over a few episodes. First you introduce the guy from the past, then you mount the pressure on Kat as his demands get more and more, then you bring it to a climax. Plus, this was, like, the only episode to focus on Kat . . . ever. Although, if it was a problem with the actress than it was out of the writers’ hands and they did what they could.
I feel like the characters of Roslin and Adama got away from the writers this season, too. They seemed to be used just to make other characters develop. Take Roslin for instance. One minute she’s the compassionate kindergarten teacher who’s thrust into these crazy circumstances and the next she’s a draconian dictator. What? And Adama. I remember one specific instance in the episode “Unfinished Business.” He literally does a 180 on his response to the boxing in a matter of minutes. One minute he and Roslin are watching the fights and he’s having a good time because it gives the crew an opportunity to let off some steam and diffuse tension between peers. Then he overhears Tyrol telling one of his deckhands that they’ll take care of something or another tomorrow because right then they were taking a break, blowing off some steam. So what’s Adama do? He challenges Tyrol to a fight—a fight he wants to lose—so he can shame everyone for trying to have a good time. Then Tyrol reaffirms his commitment to duty or whatever. What?! Makes no sense. Again, it’s Roslin and Adama as merely an instrument for other characters’ development. Did the writers forget they are characters too?
I liked the dissention in the Cylon ranks, specifically with the Threes (even if it was for an ambiguous, quasi-mystical reason). I just wanted more of it. Show me more of the Cylons being Cylons, dammit.
Then we got four straight episodes that were just random happenings in the fleet. The first one’s with the whole Apollo and Starbuck thing, which was actually pretty ok. Except that it makes no sense that Starbuck (a reckless, self-destructive viper pilot with no respect for authority) would think the institution of marriage was so sacred that getting a divorce is unthinkable (no sense other than that the writers needed a reason for her and Apollo’s affair not to work out). That’s another spot where the writers are bending the characters to fit the situation, where, in my humble opinion, it should always be the other way around.
Then there’s the episode with Helo and the Sagittarons. Ehhhhhhh, I don’t like Helo. He’s kind of a whiny little bitch. He’s perpetually upset about something. And whenever I see him and Athena together, it reminds me that it didn’t work out between the Chief and Boomer because Cally shot Boomer (with no repercussions character- or story-wise). Then I remember how much I hate Cally. Then, I remember that Cally and the Tyrol got married, and then I’m blind with rage and need to punt a squirrel. So seeing Helo = punting squirrels. And what was the point of that episode anyway? That discrimination based on religion is bad? Thanks for taking a stand writers. Thanks for taking time away from the overall arc of the series. We really needed that message.
Then comes the episode with Tyrol and Cally in the room with the hull breach while simultaneously Adama is going a little nuts because it’s his wedding anniversary. The episode started out great, showing the increasingly deteriorating relationship between the Chief and Cally (mwa ha ha), but the end was blaaaaah. So they get in one life or death situation and suddenly their marriage is fine? Eat it, marriage counselors. I did like Adama’s story with Apollo. I thought that was nicely handled.
Then the thing with the workers and the striking and the Chief. I actually ended up liking this episode a lot more at the end than I did when it started. The sociological indictment of systemic socio-economic discrimination was really good. And it gives me an excuse to use phrases like “sociological indictment of systemic socio-economic discrimination.” And I love the Chief (even if he was seduced by that she-devil, Cally).
My main beef with all of those episodes is that they contribute nothing to the overall story arc of the season. They’re just little snapshots of the fleet. It made it feel like the season just wandered around at the end with no real place to go. With Baltar’s trial being the centerpiece of the finale, the arc seemed to be everything surrounding New Caprica—which is fine, but it goes back to my first qualm that there should have been more New Caprica. I liked Apollo’s impassioned testimony during the trial (even though it totally abandoned anything like judicial process). I thought it was really well written and delivered (and when we’re talking about Apollo . . . let’s face it, that’s saying something).
And that brings us to the big one. The drama (nuclear) bomb that they dropped on us in the last five minutes of the episode.
*Major spoilin’ in case you didn’t take the first hint*
So Colonel Tigh, Anders, Chief Tyrol, and that Tory chick are allllllll Cylons. Ho-ly shit. And before anyone emails me saying, “But they only think they’re Cylons!” Ronald D. Moore, executive producer and co-creator of the show has explicitly stated in an interview with Rob Owen of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazzette that they are definitely Cylons, although he couched it saying, “They are fundamentally different Cylons.” So they’re Cylons—deal with it. Delicious.
I don’t even know what to think about that. I will say this though: Colonel Tigh, for all his douchebaggery, delivered my second favorite line of the entire series after he realized what he was. “My name is Saul Tigh. I am an officer in the Colonial fleet. Whatever else I am, whatever else it means, that’s the man I want to be. And if I die today, that’s the man I’ll be.” This declaration caused me to literally say, “Fuckin’ a!” at my computer (I don’t have cable—thank you, iTunes). For those who care, my favorite line of the series was delivered by Admiral Adama when asked by Starbuck why he didn’t go through with the murder of Admiral Cain. He said, “It’s not enough to survive. You have to earn it.” Damn straight.
But back to the Cylons. So the Chief is a Cylon, and his wife is a known Cylon killer. They better frakkin’ address that. Then there’s Tigh. Good gravy. Adama’ll love that. Anders and Tory, whatevs. Season four should be interesting.
I’d say the third season was salvaged by an excellent (if annoyingly unresolved) finale. I wish they’d done more with New Caprica and less with their political soapbox, but it’s still Battlestar Galactica and I still love it. The finale actually sparked a burning desire within me to watch all three seasons again from the beginning. Hoowah. Mainly because I want to see if this season was indeed written way differently than the first two, but also because they kick ass. Anywho, hope you enjoyed this thorough display of nerdiness. I had to get it all out. There’s quite a wait until season four starts.